26 July 2021, Manama, Bahrain – Today, WHO officially opened a country office in Bahrain. Located in the capital city of Manama, the new office is the 20th WHO country office to open in WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Region, and the 152nd WHO country office globally.
The office will enable WHO to work on the ground with national health authorities, United Nations partners and a range of stakeholders in all sectors to foster public health collaboration at the national, regional and international levels.
Her Excellency the Minister of Health Faeqa Bint Saeed Al Saleh formally opened WHO's new premises in Manama City in a ceremony that was attended by His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. Dr Hashim Hussein and WHO Representative in Bahrain Dr Tasnim Atatrah, who also represented Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO's Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.
"We are pleased to have this WHO country office in our Kingdom, which is the result of mutual interests and willingness from both parties. The challenges that impact health today are unprecedented; however, I have complete faith that our capabilities to deal with these challenges are even greater through collaboration," said Her Excellency the Minister of Health Faeqa Bint Saeed Al Saleh.
Bahrain has long been a strategic Member State and partner for WHO in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and beyond. The establishment of the WHO country office in Bahrain is the culmination of a historic and fruitful partnership between WHO and the Ministry of Health.
"The WHO country office will provide strategic, technical, policy and service delivery support to the Government in its work to advance health and well-being at the national, regional and international levels," said WHO's Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The office will further enable WHO to support the national health authorities through on-the-ground programmatic interventions to strengthen the provision of health services, sharing best practices and lessons learned locally, regionally and globally, and collaborating with other United Nations agencies, ministries and government institutions to further the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
"Partnership for health is at the heart of WHO's vision of Health for All by All in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Bahrain has been a key partner in the global and regional health arenas, and I am delighted that our partnership is now set to go even further," said Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, in remarks delivered by WHO Representative in Bahrain Dr Tasnim Atatrah.
"The opening of the WHO country office further illustrates the Government of Bahrain's continued efforts in prioritizing the health of all its people," noted United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. Dr Hashim Hussein. "The United Nations continues to extend its full support to the Government of Bahrain in furthering its national development priorities."
Reaffirming WHO's aim to provide support to Bahrain's Ministry of Health, WHO Representative in Bahrain Dr Tasnim Atatrah commented: "WHO's strategy for its country office in Bahrain aims to advance the health and well-being of all people based on the Organization's global and regional strategy. This involves working closely with all national counterparts and partners, and utilizing all assets, in line with the mission outlined in "WHO's Thirteenth General Programme of Work", focusing on the priorities set for Bahrain."
WHO's Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean comprises 22 countries and territories, and WHO has offices in most of them: the opening of the Bahrain office brings the number of WHO country offices in the Region to 20. WHO country offices play a key role within the Organization in ensuring appropriate WHO technical cooperation with countries and leadership in the health sector. Functions of country offices include policy advice and technical support, information, public relations and advocacy, and management and administration.